Pentecost II, 2005
Crosswalk The official publication of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina
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Stewardship basics What makes us good stewards? The answer’s simple: a grateful heart.
No more “beg-a-thons” Stewardship’s not about the annual “beg-a-thon.” Our diocesan stewardship consultants can tell you why.
Speaking stewardship When it comes to financial stewardship campaigns, one size does not fit all. Are you ready to learn the “five languages of congregational stewardship”?
The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it . . .(Psalm 24:1a)
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Pentecost II, 2005
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“How shall I repay the Lord for all the good things he has done for me?” —Psalm 116:12
Sisters and Brothers, dearly Beloved, This issue of Crosswalk takes Christian stewardship as its theme because it behooves us now, as the fall season of “stewardship campaigns” comes upon us, to recall that Christian stewardship is much grander and all-encompassing than the annual campaign might suggest—that stewardship, in fact, is a holistic concept which underpins every aspect of our individual and corporate life. The stewardship theme has been anticipated for months, but it assumes new meaning in light of the incomparable destructiveness resulting from “Katrina” and “Rita.” Since General Convention 2003 I have often remarked that the “silver lining” to the dark cloud of distress and dissension in the Church has been the renewal of interest in “holy basics”—in the study of God’s Word, Written and Living, in Holy Scripture— along with a rekindling of inquiry into those principles and attitudes which mark us as people of the Anglican tradition. Let us now add Christian stewardship to that category of holy basics, for it is nothing less, according to a 1988 resolution adopted by our General Convention, than “the main work of the Church.” In saying this, Beloved, we are grounded in the teaching of our Book of Common Prayer, from which we are reminded that the mission of the Church “is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ” and that “the Church carries out its mission through the ministry of all its members” (“An Outline of the Faith,” p. 855). This is the heart of what it means to be the Church: to use everything we have been given by God (in other words everything we have, beginning with the precious breath of life) to carry out the mission of reconciliation which we claim as members of the Body of Christ. Stewardship, in the words of one wise Christian, “is everything we do after we say, ‘I believe.’” The question posed by the Psalmist—“How shall I repay the Lord for all the good things he has done for me?”—takes on new poignancy as we struggle to comprehend the incomprehensible destruction of recent hurricanes and how best to respond to that devastation from the midst of our plenteousness. But the question anticipates a way of life that includes but goes beyond the immediacy of any tragedy. To be sure, the question has no satisfactory answer, because it is impossible for us to offer anything equivalent to the gift of salvation wrought by our Lord on the cross and available to us as a free gift of God’s grace. The biblical theology of stewardship, in a nutshell, is this: “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it” (Ps. 24:1a); “We love [God] because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). In other words, stewardship is not compensation for “all the good things he has done for me.” It is, rather, our grateful response to all of God’s loving gifts to us, especially the gift of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The word stewardship comes from the Greek, oikonomia (“the law of the house”), which refers to the management of a household for the benefit of all of its members. A steward, then, acts on behalf of the master, often with authority, always with responsibility for the good use of resources, but never in total control. —continued on page 22
Hu r ri c a n e re l i e f As Crosswalk goes to press, financial assistance continues to be the most effective way to support hurricane relief efforts along the Gulf Coast. Donations to: o Episcopal Relief and Development, P.O. Box 12043, Newark, NJ 0710; by phone to1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129; via Internet at www.er-d.org. o EDUSC, attn. Julie Price, 1115 Marion St., Columbia, SC 29201; checks marked “Hurricane Relief.” Watch for updates in e~DUSC, regular and special editions (see above for subscription info).
Bishop named to special commission on Church, Communion [ENS]Bishop Henderson, along with 13 clergy and lay people from throughout the U.S., has been named to the Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. The commission was appointed by Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold and the Very Rev. George L. W. Werner, president of the House of Deputies. The commission is charged with preparing the way for General Convention 2006 to respond to the Windsor Report, released in 2004 by the Lambeth Commission in response to the election and consecration of the Rev. Canon V. Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire. The commission is also asked to respond to the February 2005 communiqué of the primates of the Anglican Communion and the actions of the June 2005 meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council. The committee, which will hold its initial meeting on November 7, will prepare a report with proposed resolutions, if any, for presentation at the 75th General Convention next June. Read the full ENS report at www.episcopalchurch.org/ 3577_67465_ ENG_HTM.htm. —continued on page 23
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Pentecost II, 2005
St e w a rd s h i p b a s i c s . . . Relationship and a grateful heart By Peggy Van Antwerp Hill
“Christ set the example of serving and sharing. The steward seeks to share that example, to live it, and to preserve it.” —“Responsible Freedom,” Stewardship statement by the Church of the Brethren, 1985
The dynamic of the giver and receiver brings us to the matter of relationship, for neither the giver nor the receiver can exist alone. Oikonomia is the Greek word translated into English as stewardship. It is derived from oikos (“house” or “household” ) and nomia (“management”) and points not just to the reality that God is the ultimate authority and we are called to be steward-managers of God’s incomparable gifts but also to the fact that a steward is more than an overseer or servant. “Responsible Freedom,” a stewardship statement from the Church of the Brethren, is to the point: A steward is part of the household community, sharing the bounty and blessings with other members of the human family. A steward shares the
I think I first began to consider that Christian stewardship might actually be a way of life (as opposed to a costly and dreaded duty) as a newly minted Episcopalian bent on learning more about what being an Episcopalian might mean. I had grown up in the Roman Catholic Church, been educated by the good sisters, and somehow, simplistically, developed a theological worldview that might be summarized thus: “I act and God responds.” God, that Big Brother in the sky, spends his days (and nights) watching my every move to determine whether my actions merit reward or punishment. Imagine my amazement when a Sunday school class in my new Episcopal church set before me the idea that “God acts and I respond,” turning the whole of my theology upside down and bringing me face to face with two realities that I now understand as the heart of the Christian life and the basics of faithful stewardship: gratitude and relationship.
vision of the household. The best interests of the household are also the best interests of the steward. The well-being of the community is also the wellbeing of the steward. Stewards are accountable to each other. The needs change, the tasks of the members of the body change, but all believe and participate in the mission of the whole. Christ set the example of serving and sharing. The steward seeks to share that example, to live it, and to preserve it.
So I return to where I began. It was the Episcopal Church that taught me to see stewardship as a way of life and to understand that the way in which I discharge my “stewardly” responsibilities is fundamentally a statement I make about my relationship with God. And the rest has been an uphill journey. On the good (and truly grateful ) days I am mindful that my relationship with First gratitude. In the words of Thomas Merton in his Thoughts in Solitude: God begins with stewardship of my time—including time set aside for prayer and for offering myself to a much-needed local ministry as well. On the good days I To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything recycle scrupulously (including those plastic bags [should I perchance use them] He has given us—and he has given us everything. Every breath we that you actually have to take back to the grocery store), I embrace a healthy lifestyle (simple, good foods, including especially local products, and [perhaps even] a trip draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace. . . . to the gym), and I do not shop for “fun “ (even if the mail carrier has delivered that Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is very day a great coupon or catalog from a terrific place, and I recently never unresponsive,is constantly awakening to saw a compelling TV commercial that spoke to my “need”). On the good days, I e-mail my local and national new wonders and to praise of the legislators to let them know, honestly, what I think “[T]he grateful person knows that goodness of God. For the grateful Jesus would do. On the good days, I share my God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. person knows that God is faith in an intimate and meaningful way, And that is what makes all the difference.” good, not by hearsay but with an acquaintance or a treasured —Thomas Merton friend. On the good days, I reflect on by experience. And that gift given to me in the person of Jesus is what makes all the of Nazareth. On the good days, I difference. (re)consider my pledge to my home church in light of the uncountable Living one’s life as a bounty blessings that I have received. . . of gifts received—it is this And on the bad days, well, . . . approach to every day that you know. I struggle, befuddled, turns the garden-variety exhausted, overwhelmed, doubtful, believer into a Christian and yet aware that God calls me to steward. “Gratitude . . . takes faithful stewardship, and that that nothing for granted”; and so the calling is so honorable, so allencompassing, so magnificent that my thoughtful person cannot help but mind boggles, and I know not where to begin. respond to the countless gifts received in a “Pay It Forward” way, by becoming Thanks be to God for the journey. him- or herself the giver. On stewardship as a theme in Scripture, see “Stewardship and Scripture” on page 23. “Stewardship, yes, but . . .” (Photo: Pam Steude)
Pentecost II, 2005
Crosswalk WHAT’S IN THE WORD?
Called to create By the Rev. D. Jonathan Grieser The issue of stewardship confronts the reader from the very first chapter of Genesis. God creates human beings in the image of God, gives them dominion over the earth and the animals that have been created, and commands them to be fruitful and multiply. When thinking about how human beings relate to the earth and to their possessions, attention usually focuses on the question of dominion, but it seems to me that there is a prior issue, a more important issue present in Genesis 1.
In the image of God Human beings are created in the image of God. What does that mean? Well of course, Jews and Christians, theologians
and biblical scholars have puzzled over that for millennia and I could spin out an elaborate theological discourse on what the image of God has meant to different people at different times. What do we know about the image of God from Genesis 1? To answer that question, we have to think about what Genesis 1 tells us about God. The most obvious, and the most important, thing about God in Genesis 1 is that God creates, and what God creates, God deems good, indeed, “very good.” It is as simple as that. In a few short verses, God creates order out of chaos; God creates a world of bounty and beauty, a world filled with a multiplicity of living things of every sort; living things that have no particular purpose for existing except that God decided to create them, a universe given life by God’s pleasure. In the middle of this creation, at its pinnacle, God placed human beings;
Lord God, you alone are the source of every good gift, of the vast array of our universe, and the mystery of each human life. We praise you and thank you for your great power and your tender, faithful love. Everything we are and everything we have is your gift. After having created us, you have given us into the keeping of your Son, Jesus Christ. Fill our minds with his truth and our hearts with his love, that in his Spirit we may be bonded together in a community of faith, a church family, a caring people. In the Name and Spirit of Jesus, we commit ourselves to be good stewards of the gifts entrusted to us, to share our time, our talent, and our material gifts as an outward sign of the treasure we hold in Jesus. Amen.
creating us in God’s image. What does that mean? Given what else we know about God from Genesis 1, it means that we, too, are creative beings, created to bring life, goodness, and bounty to the world in which we live. Often stewardship, giving, is presented as our response to God’s love of us. It certainly is. But if we take the image of God seriously, then giving is not simply part of our response to God; it is who we are, it is our nature to be creative, giving beings.
like the two hours of the movie, waiting for his death. The only ray of hope, the only meaning that he can find is that one evening, while flipping through the cable offerings, he stops to watch an advertisement for an organization seeking donations to help Third World children. For some reason, Schmidt responds to the ad, sends off a check every month, and writes letters to the child he sponsors. When Schmidt comes home from his daughter’s wedding and opens the mail, there is a letter from the little boy’s caretaker. Included in it is a drawing the boy had made, of an adult (perhaps Warren Schmidt?) holding the hand of a child. The movie ends there, with Schmidt’s eyes filling with tears.
[W]e, too, are creative beings, created to bring life, goodness, and bounty to the world in which we Living into God’s image Nicholson’s is a brilliant, Academy live . . . .[I]f we take the Award–winning performance in a mostly bleak film, depicting a meaningless life— image of God seriously, joyless, lacking beauty and love. The one of hope the movie offers is the then . . . it is our nature ray tenuous relationship between this man and this child, two people who have never to be creative, giving met, but who are bonded by Schmidt’s beings. small act of charity. About us . . . In the movie About Schmidt Jack Nicholson plays Warren Schmidt, a retired insurance executive in Omaha, Nebraska. When he wakes up the day after his retirement party, he discovers he has nothing to live for; his life has no meaning. In fact, he realizes that everything he had lived for was meaningless. His job could be performed by anyone, by the young schmuck brought in to replace him. He realizes he doesn’t really like his wife of 42 years; and his only daughter is about to marry a waterbed salesman. In the course of the movie his wife dies; he drives around the Midwest in the humongous RV he and his wife had bought; and he tries unsuccessfully to get his daughter to back out of the planned marriage. Schmidt comes back home to his big, empty house and we get the impression that the rest of his life will be
God has created us in God’s image, to be creative, giving, loving beings and has called us to live into that image. How do we do that? By taking God’s own activity as our example. We can live open, expansive lives, we can live into the image of God in which we were created; we can be gracious, as God is gracious. That’s what brought Warren Schmidt to tears. In that simple picture, he caught a glimpse of a life very different from the one he had been leading, a life full of love and joy, a life of profound connection with other humans and with the world; and he suddenly regretted all the choices along the way that closed off such a life to him. When we give, we tap into God’s giving. We share in God’s creative work; we open ourselves up to the image of God in us; we become more than we are. The Rev. D. Jonathan Grieser is a transitional deacon serving at St. James, Greenville.
Pentecost II, 2005
AND THE VIOLENCE OF OUR LIVES
By the Rev. Michael Bullock
“Summertime and the livin’ is easy…” Oh yah?! Every year about this time I begin to wonder: “Who stole my summer?” And this year is no different. When I think about it, I recognize that a lot of my feelings rest with the memories of being a kid. Then, summer meant no school and heralded plenty of time to play. (Although, from my Mom’s perspective of having four boys rumbling around all day, there might have been too much time!) But, of course, I am not a child now; I no longer go to school and have the summer off. I have, as you do, significant responsibilities to meet and many things to do, to the extent that summertime’s “livin’” is not only not easy; it is, in fact, too much like the rest of the year. This leads me to think more carefully about time and the way most of us use it, and I can’t avoid the conclusion that the way we employ time has become an unacknowledged source of violence in our lives.
community, I feel compelled to confront such violent uses of time, especially as we consider what a faithful response to such living might be. What is God’s perspective on time? What does a hostile experience of time say about our sense of practical faith and spirituality? Moreover, what can faithful people like us (who are clearly very much “in the world”) do to be less “of ” the way the world works, especially in terms of participating in time’s violence? I’d like briefly to address these questions mostly as a reminder of what we already know: If God is “the source of light and life,” then it stands to reason that our lives will be richer, stronger, more healthy, if we pay attention to the Source. And paying attention to God is the domain of prayer and spirituality in our lives.
Showing up . . . the way we employ time has become an unacknowledged source of violence in our lives.
My life is not very different from the lives of the people I live and work with. Words like stress and overwhelmed are as prevalent in ordinary conversation as are comments about the weather. Complaints about not having enough time are seen as normal. It even gets to the extreme where many of us tend to feel guilty at those times when we are not stressed or overwhelmed or out of time. Irrationally, we wonder what we may have forgotten to do—as if we are in danger of being slackers—further evidence of the destructive pull when time becomes violent.
Calendar as gun As I say, my own life provides more than enough evidence for time’s violence; and over the years I have thought more about my own use of time, even as I observed and witnessed how others around me use and experience it. I have concluded that in communities like the one in which I live and move and have my being, the source of violence is not guns but calendars. And as a priest of the Church and a rector of a parish
For more than a dozen years, I have kept a Benedictine spiritual discipline, both personally and with a small community of people. On a personal level, my day is punctuated with one 20-minute period of time that is consciously dedicated to my relationship with God. This time contains variations in terms of what I do. It may be quiet time. It may involve reading the lessons from the Daily Office. It always involves some prayer, some reflection. These personal efforts are augmented by meeting three mornings a week with a local community of people, which keeps the Morning Office together. This time, too, is only a matter of 20 or so minutes, and I have found that being surrounded by this group’s commitment—and its expectation that I attend—has helped me stay steady, especially when my own spiritual zeal flags. As Woody Allen has said, “90 percent of life is showing up.” Being present, in any relationship— but especially our relationship with God (which is what “spirituality” is about)—is the issue at hand. For showing up, of course, takes time. And that’s the rub. When we feel as if we don’t have time, when our obligations and responsibilities press in on us, we go into a “survival mode” and start punching our “to do” list in a desperate hope of “getting out from under.” Except the list never disappears; it seems there is always more to do—hence the source of our violence.
“. . . all the time there is” Joan Chittister, Benedictine nun and mentoring author, tells the story of when she was just starting her
monastic vocation and came headlong into her problem with time. With the sincerity of a true novice, she met with her Mother Superior in hopes of relieving her time-constrained burdens. The young Chittister essentially said that there was not enough time for her, to which the wise superior retorted: “My dear, you have all the time there is.”
Biblically speaking, time is God’s basic gift to us, and time’s importance is punctuated by Sabbath time, holy time, when we are called to “rest” so that we can remember who we are and whose we are. What does time mean to God? Biblically speaking, time is God’s basic gift to us, and time’s importance is punctuated by Sabbath time, holy time, when we are called to “rest” so that we can remember who we are and whose we are. For me, this is the heart of spirituality. This is the heart of faithful, prayerful life. We are to remember God. It is—and must be—that simple. This is not an ethereal pursuit. This does not require graduate degrees or special training. One does not need guide books on the Desert Fathers and Mothers nor whatever recent versions emerge promising “Spirituality for Dummies.” Remembering God is primary to having a relationship with God. So, what does it take for people like us to “do this in remembrance of me”? —continued on page 23
Pentecost II, 2005
WORSHIP The stewardship of faith and relationship By the Rev. Canon George I. Chassey
he worship of God is the primary purpose of the Church. A Theological Word Book of the Bible, edited by Alan Richardson, describes worship as follows: “the true service [worship] of God is adoring and obedient love to him, together with loving service of one’s neighbor as God’s child.” The focal point of Church life is the worship of the one who is the creator, redeemer, and sanctifier of life. Worship is the fundamental way in which the believer, as faithful steward of all that God has given, responds to God’s love and to the gift of faith. This was the way of life for the early Christians. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). This act of adoration is proclaimed at each Holy Eucharist: “Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.”
A visible witness to the management of one’s time, abilities, and wealth, Our principal obligation The Episcopal Church holds worship as central to the life of those Christian who claim Christ crucified and raised from the grave. There is a setting worship as the principal obligation for those who are worship is a canon living out their faith in this part of God’s Church. But before going words about canons and canon law are in order. responsibility on,Inahisfewbook Canon Law—A Handbook, the Rev. David Stevick writes: “Canon is from the Greek kanon which meant a cane or reed, that comes which in ancient times was used as a measuring device. In time the kanon came to designate any straight rod or bar. Eventually from having word the word came to designate a norm. Canons seek to create and the conditions whereby life in the redeemed been baptized maintain community—with one’s fellow Christians and under God—can be lived with responsibility and joy.” Canons define the norm in which into the we are to live together in the community of faith. death and “Canon law,” Stevick continues, body of regulation governing resurrection isthetheessential order and structure, the worship, the administrative, of Jesus stewardly and disciplinary aspects of church life.” This is what the Christ. Church outlines in Title II, Canon 1, “Of the Due Worship of Sundays”: “All persons within this Church shall celebrate and keep the Lord’s Day, commonly called Sunday, by regular participation in the public worship of the Church, by hearing the Word of God read and taught, and by other acts of devotion and works of charity, using all godly and sober conversation.”
Living in relationship Worship is not for the benefit of God, but for the benefit and welfare of the individual and for the common good for the community. Worship focuses the individual on that which is greater than self, enriching the soul and placing heart and mind on God, the source of grace and truth. It is stewardship of our relationship with God, a primary means by which we can give ourselves wholly to our Creator through prayer and praise. Coming together on the Lord’s Day with others who make up the Christian community, one is open to having his or her very being shaped by God’s plumb line, Jesus Christ, the standard for righteousness, justice, mercy, and love. A visible witness to the management of one’s time, abilities, and wealth, Christian worship is a responsibility that comes from having been baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. By participation in public worship in the local church, one is caring for one’s soul and shaping an informed conscience. It is living in relationship with the one who gives life now and life that is yet to be. It is essential if we are to live in an ordered society—a society being shaped for the common good of all its people. In the midst of World War II, the 98th archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, in an address broadcast by the BBC in 1944 said: “The world will be saved from political chaos and collapse by one thing only and that is worship.” The archbishop’s words are as true today as they were in 1944. Worship, regular attendance at Holy Eucharist, is the path to the heart, mind, and soul being opened to the holiness, the truth, and the love of God. The Rev. Canon George I. Chassey, retired priest of the diocese, former canon administrator, has served most recently as stewardship officer at St. Martin’s-In-The-Fields, Columbia, and stewardship consultant to Columbia’s St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church.
Making work ship possible: Stewardship of the altar (photo: Suzanne Zoole)
Pentecost II, 2005
KINGDOM STEWARDSHIP Living the Oikos Principle... By Deni Sibley
tewardship is a word we have heard annually for so long that we seldom stop to think about its implications. The components of time, talent, and treasure dominate our thoughts. Fall stewardship campaigns encourage us prayerfully and thoughtfully to review these three elements before filling out our pledge cards and time and talent surveys. The imperatives of raising both the financial and human resources for a congregation can be so consuming that the concept of stewardship becomes too narrowly defined; what we can give and do for our congregation overshadows the larger question of why we do it. On the surface, the answer to that question would seem apparent. Without our contributions of time, talent, and treasure, there would be no teachers for Sunday schools, no choirs, worship leaders, Eucharistic ministers, ushers, or greeters for worship, and no money for salaries, programs, and maintenance. But on further consideration, stewardship has a much bigger purpose.
Making disciples Ultimately, the goal of our stewardship is the spreading of the kingdom of God. We give to our congregations so that we can continue to do the work with which Christ entrusted us—carrying out the Great Commission. This is the foundation of stewardship, to go and make disciples of all nations. To put it bluntly, being a steward means being an evangelist. As uncomfortable as the linking of stewardship and evangelism might be for us, it’s not as far fetched as it might appear at first glance. Psalm 24:1a tells us “The earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it.” Therefore, everything we have ultimately belongs to God. As stewards, our responsibilities are to be managers and overseers of God’s property. The Greek for steward, oikonomos, clearly shows us that the steward/overseer is someone who has been “entrusted” with the management and care of property or a landed estate, and the “property” with which we have been entrusted is the kingdom of God. We have a responsibility to take the kingdom of God out into the world, so that others can be exposed to the grace of God and love of Christ. Christ has entrusted you and me with the care and growth of his kingdom. It’s not surprising that the Greek for steward also means, by extension, to be a preacher of the gospel. As Bishop Henderson has reminded us, “There is no Plan B.” The vows first spoken for us at our baptism, and later restated by us at our confirmation, remind us of our responsibility: “Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?” In other words, “Will you be a steward of the kingdom of God?” Photo: Pam Steude
As members of a Church where the Decade of Evangelism passed as merely a blip on the radar, being an evangelist is an unsettling thought. But as with good stewardship of time, talent, and treasure, kingdom stewardship should not be something we “do,” but rather a response to the grace given us by God in Christ, a natural outpouring of our appreciation—a way of life, day to day. Our lives should be a thank-you note to God.. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 4:1 “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God,” and in 1 Peter 4:10, we are told that we should be “good stewards of God’s varied grace.”
Kingdom stewards But how do we do this? How do we make kingdom stewardship a way of life? The Greek gives us key. Oikos, the root for oikonomos, or stewardship, means household. However in Greek times, the household not only meant immediate family, but also included servants, servants’ families, friends, and business associates. By extension, oikos meant one’s sphere of influence. The Oikos Principle describes the manner in which the early Church grew: people practiced kingdom stewardship within their sphere of influence—family, friends, and work associates. It was a way of life, and natural, proclaiming “by word and example the Good News of God in Christ” within their normal, everyday environments. Statistics support this as a way that we can practice kingdom stewardship today. In their book The Master’s Plan for Making Disciples (1997), Win and Charles Arn describe a study by the Institute of American Church Growth in which more than 14,000 people were surveyed on how they became Christians. These people were asked, “What or who was responsible for you coming to Christ and your church?” There were eight possible responses: special need, walk-in, pastor, visitation, Sunday school, evangelistic crusade, church program, or friend/relative. Seventy-five to 90 percent responded “friend/relative”— the Oikos Principle at work.
[T]he ‘property’ with which we have been entrusted is the kingdom of God....
To put it bluntly, Make a friend, be a friend . . . The Cursillo movement, whose goal is to bring the world to Christ, teaches us that Oikos Principle: “make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ.” being a What a relief it was to learn that we weren’t expected to “pick a street corner, steward harangue complete strangers, drag one to church.” Don’t we all have someone within our oikos whose life would be richer knowing the love of Christ? means Kingdom stewardship is one of those beatitudinal paradoxes—as stewards, we are to care and manage the property. But as stewards of the Kingdom of God, being an the appropriate care and management is to give away pieces of the kingdom. And as a result of giving it away, the kingdom spreads and becomes larger. evangelist. Stewardship of the kingdom becomes an action of augmented returns! The season for stewardship campaigns will soon be upon us. We must be mindful that our calling to live out our Baptismal Covenant goes well beyond mere pledging of money. Not only are we to care for and love one another, but we have covenanted to do our part to spread the gospel to those in our lives who need to hear the Word. The Oikos Principle gives us a clear method by which we too can contribute to the Kingdom. Pledging time, talent, and treasure may be something we consider on an annual basis, but the world’s need for Christ is ongoing. In order to be true stewards not only of our congregations, but of the Body of Christ as well, we must rededicate ourselves to do our part in bringing the world to Christ. Deni Sibley is a member of Grace Church, Camden.
Pentecost II, 2005
Stewardship of the Word Trinity, Abbeville, forum engages the Word firsthand
By Peter Trenholm Lots of churches in the diocese have adult Sunday school classes. Trinity Church, Abbeville, has an Adult Forum, if you please. The difference is genuine and twofold: content and format. Rather than use a set curriculum, with text books, lesson plans, and a progression of perceived difficulty, we wander where we choose, following a path that is conducive to a somewhat “fluid” or indefinite congregation of students. Around a hearty band of regulars, there is a free flow of “students” who attend the forum as is convenient and appealing. It is a “forum” in the ancient meaning of that word, discussion in an open session, with a moderator who tries to keep the focus on the subject at hand, rather than on upcoming covered-dish luncheons.The curriculum is chosen by forum participants and is purposely as varied as we can manage to make it. In the years since our Sunday school segued into a forum, we have covered a lot of Church territory, including all the Gospels, except Mark, (whose turn must be coming), the Book of Acts, Revelation (which brought us several visiting members from other Abbeville churches), the Articles of Religion, and the Catechism, and, most recently, Lost Scriptures—books that didn’t make the canon of the New Testament (such as The Gospel of the Ebionites; The Second Treatise of the Great Seth; The Infancy Gospel of Thomas; The Acts of Thecla; The Didache; and The Apocalypse of Paul). In the latter exercise, each forum participant selected one of the writings and gave an oral report; the “contest” centering on who chose the most unusual or bizarre “lost scripture”—and some of them are weirdly gnostic. During Lent 2005 our focus was on the Book of Psalms, which we analyzed and classified by purpose and literary style. At the end of our study, we wrote “Psalm 151,” each member of the forum contributing a verse or two. It was read at service the Second Sunday of Easter and is reproduced here for your enjoyment and edification. Sounds pretty authentic, we think. Now that summer break is over, we have the taken on the Book of Daniel. We are hopeful that some of our Revelation visitors will come back for another dose of Old Testament apocalypse. Peter Trenholm is moderator for the Trinity, Abbeville, adult forum.
Offered by the Trinity, Abbeville, adult forum I love the Lord because he hears my supplication. When I cry for help, the Lord hears my voice. Trouble and turmoil follow me daily. But the Lord is my refuge and my stronghold.
The Heavens declare the glory of the Lord, And the beauty of the pastures testify to His handiwork. The nations You made shall come and bow down, They will put their trust in you, their God.
As often as I have said, “My foot has slipped And the skeins of death ensnare me,”
Let me walk with You, Lord, and feel alive in your land. Among all the gods there is none like You.
The Lord stretches forth his hand And saves me from the fury of my enemies.
I shall try to repay my Lord For all the blessings he has bestowed on me.
Trouble and turmoil follow me daily, But the Lord inclines his ear to me.
Let those who love the Lord sing praises to His Name. Let my soul rejoice as I go to my rest.
I shall not fear any dagger by night Nor dread the arrow that flies swift in the daylight. The Lord spares the innocent and cares for the merciful. The Lord is gracious, slow to anger and full of compassion. He hears the cry of those in misery, of those trapped in distress And gives the righteous the courage to do His will. From whence cometh my help? My help is in the Lord, Who made both Heaven and earth.
For I have been rescued from the bonds of death, My eyes saved from tears and my feet from stumbling. O Lord, I am your servant, the child of Your handmaid; I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of the nations. In the courts of His temple, I will offer sacrifice. In the midst of Jerusalem, I will call upon the Name of the Lord.
W a n d e r i n g s By Duncan C. Ely
Not all who wander are lost. —J. R. R. Tolkien
Wandering into stewardship We must not only give what we have; we must also give what we are. —Desire Mercier Stewardship gets a bad rap! Whenever most of us hear the word, we think, “Oh, no! They’re asking for more money again!” That’s because—let’s face it—we don’t really have a very broad understanding of what stewardship means. After years of wandering around grappling with the concept of stewardship, I have come to an understanding that makes sense to me: Christian stewardship is a way of living: we are grateful for God’s generosity to us, so we respond by sharing ourselves and our gifts as generously as we can for God’s kingdom. We start sharing our lives and who we are—our faith, our time, our recreation, our education, our professional work, our interests and hobbies, our environment, our beliefs, our skills and talents, our love, our relationships, our prayers—to build up God’s kingdom and to make our world a better place. Our gut response to open our wallets is easier, but certainly not as much fun as opening our lives. I started my stewardship years ago by giving money, and I wandered into a broader way of living Christian stewardship almost accidentally. I couldn’t afford to give as much money as I really wanted to, so I started volunteering. Since I couldn’t afford to contribute enough money to help pay a contractor to upgrade a playground to meet code, I recruited some friends and we rebuilt the playground equipment ourselves. A church vestry was having a hard time and couldn’t afford to hire a consultant, so I volunteered my time and abilities as a professional nonprofit executive and board trainer. Volunteering my time and talents steamrolled. I knew people of all ages, backgrounds, and circumstances who needed help with cleaning, clothing, counseling, gardening, history, genealogy, historic preservation, learning English as a second language, management, mentoring, painting, yard work—you name it—and I started sharing my education, my experience, my life. I belong to groups that make a difference by building Habitat houses, rehabbing houses, cleaning up neighborhoods, lobbying for environmental legislation, writing for Crosswalk, even building an Episcopal church! I meet people, talk about God, have fun, make a positive difference. What began as volunteerism, ended up as stewardship. My growing edge is moving from volunteerism to stewardship and consciously dedicating my gifts of time and talent to God. An unknown author wrote, “When we serve others, we are imitating Jesus. We advance from volunteer to steward when we consciously choose to dedicate a portion of our time, talent, and treasure to the Lord, as a token of gratitude for all He has given to us.” Sure . . . I still give money. But that’s only part of stewardship. God, you have given us gifts to share in building up your kingdom. Inspire us to dedicate them to you and use them in service of our church, our community, and our world. And help us grow in our understanding of our gifts and of our stewardship of them. Amen.
Pentecost II, 2005
Whose money is it? Stewardship and service “Every faculty you have, every power of thinking or moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already. So I will tell you what it is really like. It is like a small child going to its father and saying, “Daddy, give me sixpence to buy you a birthday present.” Of course, the father does, and he is pleased with the child’s present. It is all very proper, but only an idiot would think that the father is sixpence to the good on the transaction.” —C. S. Lewis
By the Rev. Deacon Steve McDonald
believe that the Episcopal Church can be an effective tool for dealing with many of the problems in the Upstate and beyond. I believe that many of the people who could be served by Episcopal programs will suffer if we do not support our churches and our diocese. I do not believe that the poor should suffer because we do not always agree with each other. I do not believe that our children or our elders should suffer because we do not always agree. Our diocesan programs suffer when we do not fund them, which means God’s children suffer as a consequence of our stewardship of resources. Service to others—acts of ministry such as feeding the hungry, caring for homeless and others who are marginalized—is, in a very real way, stewardship of life.
Changing lives I have spent the last 16 years working at United Ministries in Greenville to make a difference in the lives of the poor in our diocese. I have been blessed that most of the support for the nonprofit where I work comes from the churches in Greenville County. Over 100 churches from more than 20 denominations pool their money to support the programs at United Ministries. With this support we are able to effect change in the lives of those who receive and those who give. Like the churches in the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, the churches in Greenville do not always agree with each other. They do not all support the same causes or even share the same theology. Some churches love our programs as they are, while others wish we would add programs directed at different issues. I try to listen to them all. Some I can help, while others go away unsatisfied. But they still send their monthly checks because they believe that United Ministries is an effective tool for helping the poor. The people in these churches still fuss and fight. They try to win each other over to a particular way of thinking or believing and sometimes these arguments can be cruel or harmful but the money still comes in. The money still comes in because the poor and the sick are still with us. Children still need to be protected and educated. The homeless still need to be fed, housed, and given medical attention.
possessions for a reason. I must believe that God has allowed me to come to know and love many of the world’s poor, deprived, despised, and depleted people. The mentally ill living under bridges, the addicts living without hope of a future, the poor who have never known much of our society’s riches have all shown me that our gifts of tolerance, grace, and, yes, money, are coming out of the purse carried by the “Good Samaritan.” The last touch of kinship experienced by a dying patient in a nursing home is simply our hand being guided by the same spirit that healed the leper. The molested young child weeps in the same arms of the man who said “Let the little children come to me.”
Precious gifts The theology of stewardship calls us to service as part of a life of discipleship. The financial reality of stewardship is that there is a structure or system that has to be supported. Without support that structure collapses or the system fails. The structure is the Church. The system consists of the programs of the diocese. The diocesan programs are designed to help God’s people. If we decide that those programs don’t need to function, then shut them down. However, if we decide that those programs are worthy of their purpose, they must be funded. I believe C. S. Lewis. I believe that everything we have belongs to God. I believe that God’s most precious gift to us is each other. There are other precious gifts waiting to meet us. Many of them need our help. Let us embrace them with our time, talents, love, and, yes, money. Deacon Steve McDonald, who serves at St. Andrew’s, Greenville, is the Learning Center Administrator for United Ministries. Bishop Henderson has recently appointed him diocesan canon to the poor.
Whose money is it? Local, county, and diocesan programs need to be funded, not because we agree with our church, priest, or bishop. Whether our vestry votes the way we want them to has nothing to do with whether or not a child is given a chance to live. Besides the money really does not belong to us in the first place. Read the quotation at the beginning of this article. If I believe what C. S. Lewis says about everything belonging to God (and I do), then I must believe that God has allowed me access to certain of God’s most precious
[W]hen was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you? Photo © David Freund
Pentecost II, 2005
Lo v e y our mother . . .
On being faithful stewards of God’s creation
By Fritz Hamer
Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth, you made us fellow workers in your creation: Give us wisdom and reverence so to use the resources of nature, that no one may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet to come may continue to praise you for your bounty; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP, page 827)
hroughout most of human history people have embraced their close affinity to the plants, animals, and water around them. But since the Reformation and the Enlightenment, humanity, at least in the western world, has grown apart from the essence of human existence. Now in the first decade of the 21st century more and more of members of society realize that we need to be better stewards of God’s creation— the Earth. As human ingenuity developed machines and new ways of harnessing the Earth’s resources, people lost touch with the environments around them. Such alienation has led to the severe pollution of our air and water, to mention just two important resources. Now as a nation, faced with the devastation wrought by recent hurricanes, we are asking complex questions about our relationship to the environment with a renewed sense of urgency and alarm. We have for the most part tried to address our own assault on our environment through government reguatlions to redress the over-explotation of our dwindling resrources. But regulations are only part of the answer—a very small part of the answer for those of us who are Christians. It is through our actions at the local community and church levels that true stewardship must be fostered. In the Episcopal Church, the environmental movement is growing and gathering force, as, increasingly, Episcopalians have come to understand that care for the environment is part and parcel of their faith, at the very heart of giving thanks for all we have received. Among recent Church efforts is A Catechism of Creation: An Episcopal Understanding, recently
released by The Episcopal Science, Technology and Faith Committee of ECUSA’s Executive Council. Organized in question-and answer format, part one addresses the Bible’s basic doctrine of creation; part two describes the modern scientific worldview; and part three presents the biblical roots and theology of environmental care. Also of interest is A Guide to Environmental Stewardship for Individuals, Congregations and Dioceses, “starter kit” jointly produced by the Episcopal Ecological Network and the Minnesota Episcopal Environmental Stewardship Commission. See page 22 for more information on obtaining these resources. Last summer I attended a national conference that included denominations from North America and beyond that want to build community appreciation for air, water, plants, and animals by fostering it at the local-church level. From the conference we learned that there are many ways to become better stewards of the Earth. Not only is it important to encourage conservation of water and energy, but we also must give assistance to needy folks, those most affected by our environmental carelessness, who cannot advocate for their own needs, whether in our local communities or in Haiti, where our diocese has long been in mission, and beyond. Environmental stewardship and social justice go hand and hand. We in the Diocese of Upper South Carolina have slowly worked toward a better understanding of environmental stewardship, writing a creation liturgy that can be used in Sunday services during Pentecost II, providing meals for the needy in local congregations
“Our relationship to creation reveals the disposition of our souls and says a tremendous amount about whether we are children of light or children of darkness.” —Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold III
and support for transitional housing, in facilities such as St. Lawrence Place in Columbia. These and other tasks are important, but there is much more to be done. We must, in fact, rethink our own daily lives—what we eat, how we get from one place to another, and how we care for our lawns and gardens—to mention just a few things. It’s hard for us to change long-established ways, but our ancestors did it and we can do it now. Perhaps one of the hardest to change is our mode of transportation. But in order to reduce our consumption of oil, and especially reduce our polluting of the air from our personal vehicles, we need to rethink what we want when we purchase a new car. Instead of a big SUV, think of a smaller car that gets better gas mileage and sends less pollution into the air. This is only one example of the hard choices we have before us but reflection and prayer can help guide us toward better choices that will improve our stewardship of God’s Creation. —continued on page 22
As a faithful steward of God’s creation, I pledge: To choose a fuel-effecient, low-polluting car as my next vehicle.
To turn off the water while brushing my teeth, soaping the dishes, etc.
To use recycled paper.
To use environmentally friendly cleaning products. Whenever practical to walk or ride my bike instead of driving in my car.
To recycle everything that can be recycled.
To buy more of the things that help the environment (e.g. water-saving faucets)
To purchase local produce whenever possib1e.
To take reusable cloth bags to the grocery store.
To use organic, shade-grown, fair-trade coffee.
To plant a vegetable garden next spring. To refrain from using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. To refrain from impulse buying. To write my legislators, encouraging support for earth-friendly legislation and for ending reliance on foreign oil by supporting alternatives to oil use.
Pentecost II, 2005
Diocesan consultants focus on...
Pe o p l e a n d g r a t e f u l h e a r t s By Pam Steude “ [S]tewardship is a life lived in response to Our Lord and his goodness.’’ —The Rev. Charles M. Davis, Sr.
hen most Episcopalians of a certain age think of stewardship, they think of “Time, Talent, and Treasure”—a phrase used for many years to sell the idea of a balanced commitment to God and the Church through what we give back from what we have been given. Unfortunately in many cases, the word stewardship has come to have a negative connotation for many for the ways it has been used and abused over the years. “Part of the problem,” according to Thom Neal, Columbia attorney and chair of the Diocesan Stewardship Committee, “is that we’ve got to reclaim the word stewardship. For so many years when we think of stewardship we think of the October ‘beg-a-thon.’ We’ve got to transform our understanding into something else.” Neal, a member of St. John’s, Congaree, recently took over the chair of Stewardship Committee from the Rev. Charles Davis, Sr., who had served since the late 1990s. Neal with a group of eight consultants went through a weekend of formal training in January sponsored by the diocese, with speakers and trainers from outside Upper South Carolina. The training helped the participants get a different, much more comprehensive focus on stewardship.
It’s all in the checkbook “The problem is that people focus solely on the fundraising aspects of stewardship. If you can get people plugged into the mission of a congregation, into the vision of a congregation, the dollars will follow. Part of the trick is to get people invested in what’s going on in a given church; then they are going to want to support it,” says Neal. “You can look at their checkbooks and see where their hearts are. So you just have to get their hearts focused.” The diocesan stewardship consultants are excited and ready to go into congregations and help in many different ways. When the consultants are contacted, the first thing they do is meet with the core leadership and get a feel for who and where the congregation is and what’s going on. Because every congregation is different, there is no one-size-fits-all approach in stewardship consulting. Depending on what the congregation requests, one of the first things a consultant will do is to ask the congregation to write a stewardship statement, very much like a mission statement. In this statement, the leadership of the church focuses on vision and on those things to which they are committed, and then invites all the members to join them in that commitment.
Making a statement
Getting out of the rut
The stewardship statement has to be something that all members of the vestry, stewardship committee, and clergy can sign off on. After it is developed, most congregations sign the statement and post it somewhere in the church as a reminder of what the congregation has vowed to support. “I think for people to plug into the stewardship statement,” says Neal, “they must see effective community outreach and community action. If people really feel that the church is doing something real and productive, not just the ‘smells and bells,’ they’re willing to support it.” The consultants can simply work with the vestry and church leadership and the stewardship committee or go from there to offering a presentation for the whole congregation. For example, if a church is struggling with generational issues, the consultants can present a program that breaks out each generation represented in the church—GenXers, Baby Boomers, and so on— to see how differently each generation looks at things. In short, the consultants tailor their program to fit the needs of a particular congregation, although Neal believes the most effective way to use the consultants is to train congregational leadership to get them engaged. The consultants do charge a nominal fee for their services.
Forty people from the Diocese of Upper South Carolina attended the National TENS (The Episcopal Network for Stewardship) conference held in Charlotte in June 2005. As a member of TENS, our diocese pays an annual fee and receives a myriad of materials, resources, and ideas for stewardship campaigns and programs, which they in turn can pass along to the individual parishes within their diocese. TENS on the Web (http://tens.org/) offers a variety of free resources and useful links. The stewardship consultants and Diocesan Stewardship Committee are excited about their skills and look forward to helping congregations better understand what stewardship means and how to get out of the stewardship rut and meet their own stewardship needs. According to former Diocesan Stewardship Chair Davis, “The goal of stewardship is to get people’s hearts and souls in the place where they can respond to God and other people in thanksgiving for all the goodness and grace we have received. Simply, stewardship is a life lived in response to Our Lord and his goodness.”
People first Breaking down church membership into categories and percentages can help the leadership focus on where they can really make a difference in their congregation. The way resources are directed can really change lives. For example, says Neal, “You may have a large group in the middle who are not in leadership roles but may be waiting to be asked or to be engaged in some fashion. Focus on that middle group that wants to be engaged, and change will happen.” Stewardship and evangelism run hand in hand, which means that congregations need to be more intentional about including newcomers and inviting people in. Neal says, “Up until now, we have looked at church membership almost as if people were patrons or customers, but I think we’ve got to make them partners instead. It takes a lot of work to do that but I see a lot of churches doing a lot of good things.”
“For so many years when we think of stewardship we think of the October ‘beg-a-thon.’ We’ve got to transform our understanding into something else.”
Pam Steude, former editor of Crosswalk, is a member of St. Francis of Assisi, Chapin.
Stewardship Consultants The Rev. Charles M. Davis, Sr. email@example.com The Rev. Rob Hartley RobHartley@comcast.net Mr. Bill Head firstname.lastname@example.org Mr. Blount Shepherd email@example.com Mr. Chris Smith firstname.lastname@example.org Mr. Albert Reynolds email@example.com Mr. Thom Neal Ms. Betsy Neal THN3@aol.com
Pentecost II, 2005
Reconsidering stewardship . . .
A look at our mission By Duncan C. Ely Bearing one another’s burdens and sharing one another’s suffering is integral to being members of Christ’s body. —Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold III
adically reconsider your understanding of biblical stewardship. See it as being compelled to make a difference by faithfully developing and using all your gifts—not only by giving money on Stewardship Sunday or volunteering once a week at the local soup kitchen. The biblical concept of stewardship really means sharing your life—your abilities, gifts and talents, your faith, your home, your intelligence, your love, your money, your passions, your time—everything—to make as big a difference as you can. Stewardship can and should be about having such an impact by redistributing resources and about social justice (not politics!). The goal is for all the world’s people to have the opportunity to become the people God intends them to be. The Diocese of Upper South Carolina has modeled this understanding of stewardship in Haiti. Parishioners and clergy have not just given money, but have gone on trips, designed and built a water system, built schools and helped train teachers, taught sewing and other crafts, started an agricultural program, held fundraisers and partnered with other groups. Loren Corey Eiseley (1907–1977) wrote an essay, “The Star Thrower,” in 1949 about making just such a difference. The characters in the story include starfish collectors who harvest live starfish to kill them and sell them as shells, a man who makes a difference by saving stranded starfish one by one and throwing them back into the ocean, and a narrator whose life is changed from one who thinks he can’t make much of a difference to one who becomes a thrower himself. In a pool of sand and silt a starfish had thrust its arms up stiffly and was holding its body away from the stifling mud. “It’s still alive,” I ventured. “Yes,” he said, and with a quick yet gentle movement he picked up the star and spun it over my head and far out into the sea. It sank in a burst of spume, and the waters roared once more. “It may live,” he said, “if the offshore pull is strong enough.” He spoke gently, and across his bronzed worn face the light still came and went in subtly altering colors. “There are not many come this far,” I said, groping in a sudden embarrassment for words. “Do you collect?” “Only like this,” he said softly, gesturing amidst the wreckage of the shore. “And only for the living.” He stooped again, oblivious of my curiosity, and skipped another star neatly across the water. “The stars,” he said, “throw well. One can help them.” He looked full at me with a faint question kindling in his eyes, which seemed to take on the far depths of the sea.
Our companion-diocese relationship with the Episcopal church of Cange in central Haiti aptly illustrates the power of stewardship in our world today. Over 25 years ago, the Rt. Rev. William A. Beckham, sixth bishop of Upper South Carolina, understood the moral obligation of stewardship when he instigated and led Upper South Carolina’s long-term commitment to the poor in one of the world’s poorest and most dysfunctional countries—a nation environmentally, physically, and spiritually destroyed by greed, brutal politics, racism, and war. During the last quarter of a century thousands of Upper South Carolinians of all ages and backgrounds have spent countless hours at home as well as made well over 200 medical and other mission trips as stewards of their time, treasure, and talent to make a difference.
oday Cange is a center of education and health services, enthusiasm and hope—a center from which other efforts are already making a difference in surrounding areas. Our stewardship thus far has resulted in true modern-day miracles: an extensive free turbinepowered potable water system serves almost 5,000 people; primary and secondary schools educate more than 1,200 students with the best national test grades in Haiti; a medical complex provides a dental clinic and other comprehensive health care services; a crafts and sewing center trains people and makes goods for sale; and an agricultural initiative has produced a banana farm and started crops from seed of such vegetables as beets, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, leeks, pimentos, spinach, radish, and Swiss chard; and a foundation is building up a permanent fund to finance special projects. Such broad stewardship has been hugely successful because it has focused on helping Haitians help themselves—a powerful example of Lao Tzu’s, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” As impressive as all of these miracles are, there is still a lot of work to be done. In the planning stages are expanding agricultural, church, educational, and medical facilities and adding new buildings and programs, broadening curricula, training teachers, and establishing partnerships with other groups. Partnerships with organizations such as Partners in Health have played an important role in our work in Haiti. Partners leverage resources, provide much needed support, and broaden the scope of help we can provide. Perhaps one of the most potentially powerful projects now under way is “Adopt a Village,” which is impacting early childhood education, teacher certification, inservice training, and vocational education programs. The concept is simple: partner Upper South Carolina and other congregations with each of the Episcopal mission villages in the Cange area. Anyone—people, congregations, convocations, and other groups—can get together to practice excellent biblical stewardship by adopting a village. The goal is to involve as many people as possible in a hands-on relationship with our fellow Episcopalians in Haiti. The missions vary in their geography, population, facilities, and needs. But they all have something in common: people in need, people hungry to learn. Four congregations in Anderson and Clemson have already adopted the mission in Christ Roi and are planning a youth mission trip to carry supplies in backpacks on a six-hour hike to the remote school of Blois Joi. Congregations in the Gravatt Convocation have adopted the mission in Blanchard. They are raising funds to build a school and also are planning a mission trip. Trinity Cathedral has adopted the mission in the
village of Morne Michel. St. John’s, Columbia, has adopted the mission in Chapoteau Village and is organizing sister churches to collaborate. You get the idea! “Adopt a Village” draws on the many unique abilities and skills of everyone—and needs everyone—because the needs are so great and the opportunities to make a difference are so great. Eiseley writes:
Pentecost II, 2005
Anyone—people, congregations, convocations, and other groups—can get together to practice excellent biblical stewardship by adopting a village [in the Cange area].
I picked and flung another star. Perhaps far outward on the rim of space a genuine star was similarly seized and flung. I could feel the movement in my body. It was like a sowing — the sowing of life on an infinitely gigantic scale. I looked back across my shoulder. Small and dark against the receding rainbow, the star thrower stooped and flung once more. I never looked again. The task we had assumed was too immense for gazing. I flung and flung again while all about us roared the insatiable waters of death. If we could capture even half of the energy that the 2003 General Convention generated and put it into stewardship, our world would be a vastly better place. Think about it! Considering stewardship as a lifestyle rather than as a specific time to write a check opens up a whole new world. If we understand that everything we have is a gift from God, then we have to respond by sharing those gifts—time, treasure, and talent—with others. This kind of stewardship is already transforming the world in Haiti. Some people think they live in a world of their own, isolated and protected by money, neighborhood, people like them. But wise people understand that we would all be better off if everyone understood we’re all in this world together as God’s people. We don’t have to give all of our abundance away. We only need to share it. The challenge is not just to spend an hour or two a week helping others less fortunate and then go back into our own worlds. The idea is to more fully integrate our own lives and the lives of others so we can redistribute what God has given us in such a powerful way that we change lives. It is no accident that our diocesan vision is One Body + One Mission + Changing Lives. Think about the miracle of the loaves and the fishes. Wasn’t part of the miracle the abundant sharing of everyone present for the common good? A first reaction to this fuller idea of stewardship might be that there is so much need in the world that I am just one person and I can’t make much of a difference. But remember the Eiseley’s essay about the thrower. Reconsider your stewardship. Think about the difference we are making in Haiti. Pray. Join. Help. Duncan C. Ely is a member of St. Philip’s, Greenville.
Think about the difference we are making in Haiti. Pray. Join. Help. Photos on this page: Pam Steude
Pentecost II, 2005
(YOUTH & YOUNG ADULTS)
Youth share talent and treasure beyond Upper SC EYE 2005, Happening “Uno” highlight Upper SC summer By the Rev. Sue von Rautenkranz
very three years, our Church holds a national event for young people called EYE—the Episcopal Youth Event. This year young people from all over the United States and Central and South America gathered for five days of fellowship, learning, and worship. “Can You Catch the Spirit Off the Beaten Path?” was the theme for this EYE, as we gathered on the campus of Berea College in Berea, KY—more than 1,400 youth and adult sponsors. More than 50 bishops attended, including Bishop Henderson. Our Upper SC group totaled 15, representing many of our congregations as well as our Youth Commission. While there were many serious workshops offered this year, it seems that the two most popular ones were knitting and dorky dancing. Look for the dorky dancing workshop at upcoming diocesan youth events, and get ready to receive some different-looking Christmas presents this year.
(I’ve already received a knitted bookmark!) Each day there were new knitters among us, including many young men and a few bishops! Another highlight of the week was the Cultural Carnival, an event that has grown over the years to an amazing display of cultural oddities and celebrations. This year the Diocese of Maryland topped the experience by bringing live blue crabs for people to “catch.” Youth Ministry is alive and well in the Episcopal Church and there are amazing young people who are gifted leaders sharing their love of God and this Church! —continued at top of next page
I loved meeting the youth from everywhere—from Hawaii to Maine. The cross-cultural fair was fun when we got to walk from booth to booth and see what every state is known for. Bishop Michael Curry from North Carolina was a great speaker. I could have listened to him all day. —Michael Petry, St. Bartholomew’s, N. Augusta
Being at EYE was a truly wonderful experience. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so welcome to be open about faith, especially being around so many people! EYE was an amazing experience. The very first Eucharist was really awesome! I loved the way our preacher not only connected with us but was extremely emotionally involved in his sermon. EYE was just an overall great experience. —Katie Reilly, St.David’s,Columbia
Upper SC at EYE, with Bishop Henderson (back row left) and Presiding Bishop Griswold (back row center). Photo courtesy of Ministries with Young People, Episcopal Church Center
Pentecost II, 2005
Happening UNO What a gift this weekend was to me and the others from our diocese who shared this program with the youth leaders from El Rio in Quito, Ecuador. My heart was so full by their witness to us of their faith and ministry, that I believe we received so much more from our new friends then we could ever have given to them. Cameron Graham, who serves as a missionary in the Diocese of Central Ecuador and is sponsored by many in our diocese, brought her team of youth leaders for a two-week experience that included our sharing of the Happening program. The weekend began as a dream about nine months ago when I received an e-mail from Cameron that simply said, “So, what do you think about getting Happening started in Ecuador?” There were many speed bumps, but we were too excited by the possibility of the weekend to let anything get in our way. The weekend itself had a major barrier, a language barrier, that is. Our team didn’t speak Spanish and our candidates didn’t speak English, so every word was translated, both ways! The next part of the dream is to take a group of youth and adults to Ecuador next summer, so that they might have their first Happening weekend there. We know from our experiences this summer that dreams and hopes can become realities when we let God take the lead. —Deacon Sue von Rautenkranz is diocesan canon for youth ministry.
Happening fue una de las experiencias más divertidas y refrescantes de mi vida. Saber que personas que no conozco están orando por mi, dando de su tiempo para escribirme cartas . . . Puedo decir que la mano de DIOS se encontró en cada una de nuestras actividades. Le doy gracias a DIOS por todas las personas que conocí y mis nuevos amigos.
As we were finishing our celebration of the Eucharist and I began to give the blessing, our friends from Ecuador began to move around. At first I thought they might not be used to having a blessing. Then I realized that they were preparing themselves. They stood with eyes closed and hands raised and as I spoke the words they reached out, took hold and crossed themselves. It was one of the most beautiful and moving things that I have ever seen. I will never again pronounce the blessing without thanking God for my new friends from Ecuador.
—Roberto Javier Vivanc
—The Rev. Susan Louttit Hardaway,Holy Trinity, Clemson
“Catching on” to stewardship . . . (It’s kid stuff!) By the Rev. Canon Phil Purser “Faith is caught and not taught” are the words of John Westerhoff, a Christian educator. When it is about children and stewardship, there is both “catching” and “training.” Parents, godparents, grandparents, teachers, and other adults share with children what they themselves have or have not experienced, practiced, and learned about stewardship. In the beginning of the formational experiences for children and stewardship, adults need to ask their own questions. From whom have I received the gifts of life for which I am responsible? What does it mean for me to care for all that has been given to me? How do I share gifts with others who are part of my community and those outside of my community? These questions become a foundation for “teaching our children” about the blessings of being stewards. They also help us learn to form questions for our children, helping them learn from their experiences. A young woman in her early thirties was talking about her giving to the Church and the importance of her tithing, giving ten percent of what she had to give. She said when she was six years old, her parents, the first teachers, told her about their faith in God and how they had decided that God would be a part of their life through their giving. She was taught that ten percent of what she was given was first to go to Church—God calls us first to love God. Sharing what is important to us with God is one of the ways we can love God. Ten percent went to savings—we live for today, but also plan for tomorrow. The remaining 80 percent was for her to spend in whatever
way she thought she should spend it, remembering that she could always put more in savings and give more to the Church. It was that experience that “formed” her and shaped what kind of steward she would be as an adult. Stewardship, of course, is about so much more than the management of funds. We’re really talking about “catching” a lifestyle. Recently at a stewardship gathering, I heard another young person, this time a young man, recount a childhood story. He and a sibling accompanied their parents to deliver the Christmas basket from church to a family very much in need. Upon leaving the parents asked them what they had seen and heard, what they had learned about themselves, and what they had learned about others. This act of stewardship became a “teachable moment” about understanding identity—“we are not poor and we are not rich”— and about the presence of Christ is in all persons—“just because your clothes are old does not mean that God loves you any less.” These children “caught” by being “taught” by adults who were intentional stewards. What children see adults do and hear them say about stewardship in every sense of the word is forming their own stewardship practices and their faith for a lifetime. What would you like to have the children you know see and hear about stewardship? What have children special to you “caught” you doing or not doing about stewardship? What do you hope they will learn? See the box on page 19 for some children’s stewardship ideas. The Rev. Phil Purser is diocesan canon for Christian formation.
Pentecost II, 2005
P • A• R• T• S
St. John’s, North Augusta By Kimberley Higgins Who: St. John’s Episcopal Church. Mission, Gravatt Convocation. 920 Clearwater Road, North Augusta, SC 29841; 803.593.5662; www.saintjohnsclearwater.org. Average Sunday attendance in the low thirties. Priest-in-charge: The Rev. Robert M. Hartley.
Where: Just a few miles from the Georgia border, tucked between North Augusta and Clearwater, down a tree-lined county road lies this quiet rural church. It sits upon a hill, a welcoming safe place where people can encounter God. When:
Dedicated in April 1949, St. John’s was originally built on a small piece of land in the little town of Clearwater. After many years in Clearwater it was decided that if the church was to grow a larger area of land was needed. In 1965 land was purchased on Clearwater Road. In the words of St. John’s priest-incharge, the Rev. Rob Hartley, “they put the church on wheels and drug it about a mile up the road to its current location.” The members of the congregation then bought two old surplus barracks, vintage World War II, from nearby Fort Gordon and attached them to the church. They were then transformed into Sunday school rooms and a large fellowship hall. Although in a quiet location, St. John’s is anything but quiet. This group is active and raring to do what must be done to increase their church family. Prior to Hartley’s arrival, St. John’s had seen a series of supply priests who ministered to its people without having a permanent presence. “When I first came here the numbers on Sunday were about 12, and Bishop Henderson was thinking about closing the doors,” explains Hartley. “I was in seminary at the time and
Archdeacon Byrd asked me to come down here about once a month to help discern whether or not to keep the church open.” As a transitional deacon Hartley was assigned to Good Shepherd in Columbia and was given permission from the bishop to lead one service a month at St. John’s. That one service turned into two and then part way through his time in the transitional diaconate Hartley came to St. John’s full time. Hartley was ordained to the priesthood in the church in November of 2003 and has been there ever since.
How: “When I first came here I sat down with the mission committee, the core of those attending at the time, and we talked about closing the doors or doing something different,” says Hartley. “The little core group always thought we needed to rebuild this church.” It was agreed that having a pastoral presence in the community, a mind for evangelism, and someone who would provide continuity were very important factors for growing the church. Hartley explains, “When I came I did all the things I was supposed to do—the worship, the spiritual formation, the catechism classes, and all that. I never did anything extraordinary, but we increased the number of members, and they increased very rapidly. The only difference really was that I was here. That was it. I just had to be present and available and the church grew. It just happened.” St. John’s is now in the second year of a five-year plan, which the original “core” developed. “We will be in the middle of the plan in 2006, and we have done most everything we set out to do,” says Hartley. Part of their attempt to grow has been a focus on growing spiritually. The people of St. John’s discuss the lectionary readings during Sunday school hour each week, but contend that the main teaching happens on Wednesday nights when they have a supper followed by a Bible or book study. This weekly gathering continues through out the entire year. Involving lay people is very important to the communicants of St. John’s, where members serve in the church as Eucharistic ministers and in the music ministry, as well as beyond the church walls to provide outreach to the local community. St. John’s supports a local food bank through an offering on the first Sunday of each month. They also provide help for families at
Thanksgiving and Christmas. St. John’s is currently working at starting a seniors ministry. Since the area’s population has in the past been comprised mostly of mill workers, many older folks stayed in the area after the mills shut down and retired here. The church’s Senior Touch Ministry will be designed to contact seniors who may not have anyone else to check in on them.
According to Hartley, “All the community ministries we have taken on, our spiritual formation ministries, teachers who have been raised up, our youth ministers who work with the young people, all of this is really an exercise in discipleship—following Christ where he leads and being good stewards of all that God has given us. Stewardship, like discipleship, touches every aspect of who we are. To grow in giving of time, talent, and treasure is part and parcel of growth in discipleship. As is growth in faithfulness to what God is calling us to do.” “Stewardship,” Hartley points out, “is not just about money; it is stewardship of our lives. God has given each of us a life, and he has asked us to do something with it, and that is stewardship.” Hartley continues, “When we understand just how broad the concept of stewardship is, we needn’t ever use the word stewardship again. We might just as well say discipleship because that is what it is.”
The Rev. Rob Hartley: “This a great outpost of the Kingdom of Heaven. I think the Lord is really calling us to meet Christ on this little hill over looking Clearwater Road. I think he really wants us here.” Kimberley Higgins is a member of St. Paul’s, Batesburg.
Pentecost II, 2005
Put the focus on people first By the Rev. Canon Mark Clevenger We are told that most congregations in the United States have fewer than 200 in average Sunday worship attendance. In a congregation of that size, it’s often the case that identity, rather than a specific mission, serves as the organizing principle. In other words, people are not in congregations of this size with a yearning to be led to do something as much as they are there to experience a sense of who they are or might become in God’s eyes.
One size does not fit all I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood in front of a group of devoted churchgoers and profoundly under-whelmed them with an energetic, rah-rah, let’s go get ’em, pitch. It wasn’t so much that they disagreed with me, as that their experience of church just didn’t correspond to what I was describing. If you’re like me, you’ve found that most folks who find and stay with a congregation with less than 200 in attendance don’t get their spiritual itch scratched by getting sent out to do things. It’s more about being and belonging for them. Now, of course, as soon as I say something like that both you and I are thinking of exceptions to this. There are, indeed, occasions when these feelings have doing consequences, for instance, when a member of the congregation is in crisis. You won’t easily find a greater depth of pastoral support than what the members of these smaller congregations can provide when their feelings are triggered. This is one of the primary benefits of participating in a smaller congregation, that is, if you’re the kind of person who likes that kind of intimate relational setting. If you’re not, however, a small congregation can be a mixed blessing. This leads me to a point that I don’t think can be made too often. What is preferable about one congregation to one person may not be preferable to someone else. This is why it can be very challenging to offer just the right stewardship approach for any one church. First we must discern the nature of the congregations within the congregation before we can design an effective stewardship program. In other words, we need to see people as they are, not how we would like them to be, or how we assume them to be.
[W]e must discern the nature of the congregations within the congregation before we can design an effective stewardship program. It’s not too late to make this the best year ever. Here are some timely steps that are guaranteed to encourage your congregation’s giving.
Questionnaires can be fun Most of us throw questionnaires away. We just don’t see a benefit in taking the time to respond to impersonal inquiries. Nevertheless, effective programming is always needs-based. The best way is a lively, fun questionnaire that asks folks about themselves, not the congregation. An effective questionnaire should be no longer than one side of one page. Responses should be invited to be anonymous or signed. Each questionnaire should be accompanied by an addressed, stamped return envelope. Questionnaires can also be dropped in the offering plate. Make it as easy as possible for them to be returned. Do not ask about the church. Instead, ask members about themselves: their hopes, desires, frustrations, concerns, and so on. Ask about their lives outside the congregation. Good questions: What makes you happy? What makes you sad? What do you catch yourself worrying about? What’s one thing you want to accomplish in life? What are your daydreams? What are some things that might be missing in your life’s toolbox that would make each day easier? You get the idea. The purpose of the questions is to help the people, not the church. Ask about them and then make the strategic interpretations that result in innovative programming. Read beyond the content of the responses for clues to the underlying process of spiritual development at work. For instance, “shopper language” is consumer language. These folks are interested in a quid pro quo. They are searching for a product. In about one hour each week they want to find something for everyone in their family that they can’t easily get anywhere else. “Joiner” folks have arrived. Their language is of belonging, community, fellowship and fun. “Striver” respondents identify themselves by addressing the deeper questions of life. They’re concerned about identity, meaning, and self-
actualization. “Server” folks talk about making a difference with their lives, especially by serving others. Sort the responses according to stages of spiritual development and brainstorm appropriate programming, allocating resources in ratios that correspond to the stages represented. For instance, if 20 percent of your responses are from shoppers, consider allocating 20 percent of your budget to meeting the needs of shoppers. This might involve a new seeker/consumer-oriented worship service or other shopper-sensitive programming. —continued on page 19
T H E F I V E L A N G UAG E S O F C O N G R E G A T I O N A L S T E WA R D S H I P 1. The language of the seeker Most of these folks will only step foot in a church for a funeral or wedding. They’re seeking the meaning of life, usually at Barnes and Nobel or someplace similar. We’ll have to leave the comfort of our building, capture their very short attention spans, and show them that we have something of eternal, unparalleled value to offer them before they show up or give to us.
2. The language of the shopper
Similar to seekers in that they are consumers, but they can be distinguished by the fact that they’re open to finding the meaning of life in a church. Give them a Sunday morning experience they can’t easily find elsewhere and they’ll invest.
3. The language of the joiner
Joiners experience meaning only through belonging. They seek and deserve the most friendly, welcoming, and forgiving family, in Christ possible.
4. The language of the striver
It’s all about making an ever-deepening, ever more meaningful, intellectually significant spiritual journey for these folks. They seek credentials, achievements, evidence of progress—EFM, Stephen Ministry, even ordination. Help them on their journeys and they will respond gratefully and generously.
5. The language of the server
These folks like to be challenged to serve people in need. Give them an institutional vehicle to meet human needs in a way not otherwise easily done and they’ll respond generously.
Pentecost II, 2005
A sign of the times . . . Photo © Robin Smith
By Blount Shepard
t was an interest to me that the number of Generation X (1961–1981) attending the TENS (The Episcopal Network for Stewardship) Conference in Charlotte this past spring was significant (maybe 10 percent or 40 people). Also of interest to me was the way Gen-Xer’s view the world and how truly different their defining culture is from mine (trailing edge Baby Boomer, 1943–1960). Their age is defined by 999 television channels, not 3; color TV, not black and white; MTV, not American Bandstand; and, perhaps most important to the financial aspects of stewardship, plastic, not cash, and electronic payments, not handwritten checks. Young people seeking a church family are seeking through electronic media that are familiar to but a few of the Silent Generation (1925–1945). Members of the Baby Boom who were caught on the edge or in the middle of the technology revolution steamrolling through the 1980s know a good deal about being “connected,” but only something about e-commerce. Gen-Xer’s hardly know anything else. When we consider stewardship and the ways Christians give of their treasure, we need to pay attention to the paradigm shift that is already a part of life for our youngest members, growing in number. Their comfort level is with a congregation’s Web site not the newsletter. They will prefer to pledge online, and not to fill out a pledge card. The convenience to be able to (“heaven forbid”) pay online appeals to many. I hear that there are people out there who do not even own paper checks. What is the world coming to?
“When we consider stewardship and the ways Christians give of their treasure, we need to pay attention to the paradigm shift that is already a part of life for our youngest members. . . .”
Within the fold of Upper South Carolina, St. Christopher’s in Spartanburg (www.stchrisonline.org) is providing opportunities for its members to pledge at any time during the year. Other congregations, such as St. James, Austin, TX, allow for instant giving and pledging online (http://stjamesaus.org/). For more information visit their Web sites. Also churches getting serious about electronic stewardship should check into the National Church Supply Company’s Envelope Service (www.envelopeservice.com), which can assist those interested in adopting some of these stewardship services in their own church. I wouldn’t throw away the pledge cards just yet, but don’t overlook the new online stewardship arena. Blount Shepard, one of our diocesan stewardship consultants, is a member of St. Simon & St. Jude, Irmo.
Paying if forward. . . A stewardship idea
Each member of the parish, no matter what age, was given an envelope containing two dollars and an instruction sheet. The instructions were to use the $2 to help someone else within a designated period of time. The responses were amazing. Some added much more to the initial amount. Children made many inquiries and suggestions and bought food for the homeless people they see at intersections. We bought children’s books and sent them to Thailand for mission outreach and the amount of the purchase was donated by the store to our children’s hospital for research. On and on it goes. It was one of the most inspiring, energized stewardship drives I’ve ever been a part of. —Donna Rone, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Columbia
This “stewardship idea,” featuring our own St. Mary’s, Columbia, was originally published in Trinity News, volume 52, no. 2, with the theme “Stewardship: Trials, triumphs, and trends.” Trinity News is the magazine of Trinity Church-St. Paul’s Chapel in New York City.
Pentecost II, 2005
Will our children be stewards? INCLUDING OUR CHILDREN The following suggestions are taken from the article “Will our children be stewards,” by Terry Parsons, stewardship officer for the national Church. For the full text, see the “Children and Youth” section at www.episcopalchurch.org/stewardship. Make sure there is an opportunity for children to give an offering each week. It sounds obvious but an astonishing number of congregations have never thought about this. The children’s offering can come during Sunday school, children’s church, or the morning worship but it should be an event, part of the liturgy. Give offering envelopes to every child who wants them. There are wonderful, colorful, inexpensive offering envelopes available from several denominational bookstores and publishers. Do not be dismayed by the uses children will find for these envelopes. I will never forget the morning we had to find an extra envelope for a child who had found it a convenient place to put the tooth which had come out during Sunday School. Yes, it is a good idea to tell parents what you are doing and give them veto power, though I have never known a parent to refuse or complain. Honor every gift. Record children’s offerings and give them regular statements along with adults regardless of the amount they contribute. If the cost of keeping the records and generating the statements exceeds the amount of the contribution, so what? This is an investment in formation and is well worth the cost.
Teach parents how to teach their children. An adult forum on early memories of money will be valuable to the adults. End it with the question “What memories do you want your children to have?” and it will be valuable to their children. Anyone interested in a “parents as stewards” training session, please call for a copy of the outline we have developed in the Office of Stewardship (1.800.334.7626, ext. 6284). Incorporate a discussion of stewardship into confirmation class. One priest I know includes it in preparation for baptism, which is an even better idea. Include Christian education volunteers in planning for your annual stewardship program. They are a valuable ally and may bring some fresh ideas along with them. Encourage them to look for stewardship teaching opportunities in whatever curriculum your church is using. There are a number of resources available but I think you will find that you do not need special “stuff ” to teach this. Last, but most important, cherish the children. They are one of the best gifts God has given us. ©Copyright Terry Parsons
Living with Money curriculum helps churchgoers understand role, power of money From the Episcopal News Service
A groundbreaking educational curriculum for churches that helps people understand the role, power, and impact of money in their lives is available from the Episcopal Media Center. Living with Money, a video-based program with supporting printed materials, “shines the light of faith on the taboo subject of money to help people develop a balanced, wholesome, rewarding ‘money life,’’’ said the Rev. Louis C. Schueddig, producer and the Episcopal Media Center’s president and executive director. “Living with Money encourages dialogue on the subject of money in the context of the Christian faith. The catalyst for the project, which took four years to fund and develop, is the Rev. Davis L. Fisher, an Evanston, Illinois, money consultant and Episcopal priest. “Everyone has a ‘money life,’ whether we acknowledge it or not,” Fisher says. “Almost nobody talks about it. From our earliest years and throughout our life our attitude toward money influences who we are and what we become.”
“Do you speak stewarsdship?”
—continued from page 17 If another 50 percent of your responses reflect joiner qualities, allocate 50 percent of your budget to meeting their needs. These might include small groups and relationship-building events, especially events that serve no purpose other than opportunities for fun. If another 10 percent sound like server responses, allocate resources to programming for social justice and service opportunities. See to it that staff time, building use allocation, and every aspect of the budget reflect these ratios. Have a proposed narrative budget ready for distribution for your stewardship kick-off. Keep it simple. Demonstrate how you propose to allocate the congregation’s resources in ways to meet the expressed needs of its members. Don’t have much flex in your budget after you’ve funded the sacred cows? Aha! That’s an invaluable finding. Demonstrate in your narrative how existing programs earn their existence by meeting the needs reflected in one or more of the stages. This goes for salaries, too. For instance, if you have reason to believe that your congregation reflects the ratios presented above, then staff should be using their time each week to serve members accordingly. Is yours a one-person shop? Organize your work week around the ratios reflected in your congregation. In short, do what it takes to design and implement a needs-based ministry and get ready for a substantial bump in energy, commitment, and giving.
Living with Money features four video programs with a panel of eight experts from a variety of disciplines. Their conversations supply the foundation for further discussion by participants and a group leader. Panelists, in addition to Fisher, are Glinda Bridgforth, Detroit-based financial counselor, founder of Bridgforth Financial Group and author of Girl, Get Your Money Straight; John Haughey, a Roman Catholic Jesuit priest, professor of Christian ethics at Loyola University in Chicago, and author of The Holy Use of Money and Virtue and Affluence; George Kawasaki, a Chicago branch manager of Ron Blue & Company, which offers financial, estate, and investment counsel; Olivia Mellan of Washington, DC, a psychotherapist specializing in conflict resolution of money issues, and author of Money Harmony; Francisco Menachca, senior bank officer with Bank One in Chicago and manager of community outreach and education programs; Vicki Robin of Seattle, president of New Roadmap Foundation, and co-author of Your Money or Your Life; and William Schweiker, professor at the University of Chicago School of Divinity, chairman of an The Rev. Mark Clevenger is diocesan canon to the ordinary. international research project called People and Property, and author of Responsibility and Christian Ethics. His article and his definitions of the five congregational Each set of Living with Money includes four programs on two videos with closed captioning, a leader’s guide, and a languages originally appeared in the Diocese of Long Island’s participant’s journal, and sells for $125 plus shipping and handling. The printed resources were prepared by Morehouse Dominion in September and October 2002. Publishing. For more information, call 800.229.3788 or visit the Episcopal Media Center Web site, www.episcopalmedia.org.
Pentecost II, 2005
Two Upper South Carolinians reflect
Anglicans and Weighing in on Scripture and greater truths By Adair Keller am writing in response to the summer (Pentecost I) edition of Crosswalk and its focus on Scripture. Bishop Henderson has my gratitude for his calling on all of us to study Scripture and “return to holy basics.” As a lifelong Episcopalian I do not recall ever being challenged in this way. Although I grew up hearing a psalm, an Old Testament lesson, an epistle and the gospel lesson at each service, I did not have a real appreciation for the Bible until I began Bible study. I was led there by the need to know the authority behind my beliefs. In truth, I was not yet a believer, only an Episcopalian who believed in believing.
“Faith seeking understanding” For me the crisis in the Anglican Communion can be boiled down to the weight we would give biblical authority. Instead of accepting the greater truths of the biblical message on faith (“faith seeking understanding,” according to St. Anselm), we reduce the authority that the Bible has over our lives to a matter of how we interpret biblical precepts and stories. I remember being in my Education for Ministry (EFM) class while still somewhat of a biblical skeptic. We were discussing the story of Abraham and Isaac. The historical critical method was at play as the majority of us could not accept as real a father sacrificing his son. One
young man spoke up: “I don’t have a problem with that. God told Abraham to do it and Abraham obeyed God.” His comments forced me to look more deeply at the story. Could it be that Abraham’s relationship with God was such that he believed God’s promise that his descendants would outnumber the stars? Could it also be that in his humility Abraham recognized that in his limited understanding he needed to trust that God would provide a way? Isaac asked, “Where is the lamb?” (Gen. 22: 7), and Abraham responded “God will provide.” John the Baptist completes the Old Testament story of Abraham and Isaac when, upon seeing Jesus, he proclaims, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).
I conquered” truly represents Julius God’s calling on us and the Caesar? Likewise, for me, upon looking at the Bible in its entirety, world’s calling on us are at certain truths are apparent. The theme of our fallen state and need odds. We have been taken for salvation is clear. Throughout the Bible God calls us into over by worldly values to the relationship with him. God continues to love us and be merciful extent that it is hard to to us even as we fall away. We are called to obedience and to giving up represent the otherness of our self. God’s steadfast love for us is a calling as “resident aliens.” clear theme of the Old and New Testaments, but it is a theme of salvation and not only affirmation and inclusion. Otherwise, why do Richard Hooker is in part the we need a savior? tradition of biblical understanding. The late theologian Karl Barth speaks of the Bible as driving us out Not only can we limit the Bible beyond ourselves, inviting us, by interpretive methods, but we are without regard to who we are, “to also vulnerable to limiting our own reach for the last highest answer. . . . common prayer. In the liturgy, we a new world, the world of God.” He pray what we believe given the writes: “There is a river in the Bible authority of Scripture. With many that carries us away, once we have biblical interpretations possible, our entrusted our destiny to it—away We can limit the Bible . . . to “common” prayer can no longer from ourselves to the sea. This exist. daring is faith. The invitation to questions of interpretation or God’s calling on us and the dare and to reach toward the world’s calling on us are at odds. We highest, even though we do not we can look for greater truths. have been taken over by worldly deserve it, is the expression of grace values to the extent that it is hard to in the Bible: the Bible unfolds to us represent the otherness of our as we are met, guided, drawn on and calling as “resident aliens.” In this made to grow by the grace of God.” postmodern world I’m not sure I Would it not be better for us to want to trust humanity to interpret step out in faith, so that we could We can limit the Bible (and the and dissect Scripture. Our begin to experience the Bible’s transforming power it might have on denomination has been infected by a transforming power on our lives us) to questions of interpretation or culture which compromises through the deepening of our we can look for greater truths. It interpretation. We hear constantly of relationship with God? would be hard to prove that Julius the three-legged stool, but the third Adair Keller is a member of Caesar ever said: “I came, I saw, I leg of tradition referred to by Christ Church, Greenville. conquered,” but can anyone question that “I came, I saw,
Looking at the greater truths
“The last highest answer”
Pentecost II, 2005
on Crosswalk for Pentecost I, 2005...
Scripture... Scripture, Windsor, and the FUTURE... By The Rev. James Workman
hank you for giving us a whole issue on “Anglicans and Scripture.” The articles by Felicia Smith and Lisa Unterseher were especially helpful, and we urgently needed to hear Bishop Henderson’s call to “get serious about the Bible.” Almost everyone agrees our Church will face historic decisions at General Convention in less than a year. It is our last chance to preserve our relationship with the Anglican Communion before the worldwide Lambeth Conference of bishops in 2008. Our Diocesan Convention in October is our chance to address an important part of our future. A resolution has been filed that fulfills Bishop Henderson’s call for convention to endorse The Windsor Report and to comply with its recommendations as the “the way forward for the entire Anglican Communion, ecumenical relationships of the Communion, and the common life of the Episcopal Church” (in the words of the St. Louis statement, signed by 23 ECUSA bishops, July 8, 2005). The proposed resolution (on the diocesan Web site at w w w. e d u s c . o r g / C o n ve n t i o n / 8 3 rd Convention/Resolutions.shtml) asks General Convention 2006 to do the same.
Getting down the mountain Unspoken in the diplomatic language of the statement from St. Louis is the danger that the Episcopal Church could divide, along with the Anglican Communion— our home in worldwide Christianity. The Rt. Rev. N. T. Wright (bishop of Durham,
England, and a member of the very diverse Windsor Report team) has likened our crisis to being “on the top of a mountain among crags and crevices, the light is failing and we need urgently to find a safe route down.” He said The Windsor Report is “the only way down the mountain” (debate in Church of England General Synod, February 17, 2005). Put positively, according to the discussion materials by the Rev. Dr. Philip H. Whitehead on the diocesan Web site (www.edusc.org/LambethCommission/Wi ndsorIndex.shtml), The Windsor Report is about how we can stay together and live together. Full debate in our convention on the resolution regarding The Windsor Report will undoubtedly bring us back to the focus of the last issue of Crosswalk—our use of the Bible, particularly in deciding moral issues. We may not bring out all the scriptural texts involved, but we will certainly speak from the stance of our viewpoints on the Bible. Our beliefs about the Bible will determine how we use it.
On Hooker and others With reference to that recent Crosswalk, the Rev. Richard Norman is clearly correct that the crux of our situation is the interpretation of Scripture, rather than a sheer appeal to its authority. One element of interpretation is the sweep of Scripture—painting the unfolding of God’s plan for the redemption of God’s creatures and creation. I must say that the comprehensive effort by the Rev. Dr. Swanson on “The Bible and Sexuality” was, to me, a truly sad harvest. This longest
article in Crosswalk had only six column inches extolling Scripture’s portrayal of God’s beautiful gift of sex. The last word from Prof. Swanson was a note of uncertainty about Scripture. When it comes to same-sex relationships, “we need the guidance of the Spirit on that.” This statement could well predict the division in our debate in convention on the proposed resolution. Either we will follow the panorama of Scripture (extended into 2,000 years of Church tradition) that includes God’s sole offer of blessing for sex within the marriage of a man and a woman, or we will follow a suggested new voice of the Spirit that would deny the consistent, focused direction of Scripture. Someone will ask: “But what about the three-legged stool of Anglican authority—Scripture, tradition, and reason?” Richard Norman’s article insisted that each of the legs (including a possible fourth—experience) “is of equal importance.” I’m grateful for the corrective by the Rev. Thomas Davis, in his article: “it was never intended that Scripture and tradition be of equal weight.” The same can be proved for what Richard Hooker called “right reason,” which in the parlance of that day included all that makes us distinctly and fully human as restored in Christ, including our complex experiences. “Right reason” never meant mere rationality or scientific findings alone. My copy of Hooker’s Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity has pencil marks throughout noting the preeminence he gives to Scripture. If he had invented the image of a stool, it might have been a rather
modern looking Scandinavian piece with a bentwood seat curving down to form a broad strong “leg” supported by two others of perfect proportion, but distinctly smaller.
Endorsing The Windsor Report is truly “the only way forward”. . . . Extraordinary times These are not ordinary times for our Church. Lay leaders, clergy, and bishops of every viewpoint have admitted that we face a crisis of some significant proportions. Those who say everything is just fine seem to be living in denial, at best. Our parish is quietly recovering from a desperate low point a little over a year ago, partly related to the larger crisis. Our reduced pledge to the diocese reflects climbing up from a bank balance of $300 at that time. The national and international Church situation has not grabbed our attention yet, but I expect our time to come. Endorsing The Windsor Report is truly “the only way forward” to preserve our place in our family in worldwide Christianity. No other realistic ways have been offered. As pastor of one of our parishes, I hope our diocese in convention will affirm our life flowing from God our Creator, Jesus Christ our Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit our sustainer and guide, and bounded graciously by the drama of God’s plan for us revealed in Scripture. The Rev. James Workman is rector of St. Michael’s, Easley.
Pentecost II, 2005
—continued from page 2 The meaning for us Christians is clear: God, the creator, is the ultimate authority, who has given us freedom to manage, and charges us, also, with the responsibility for our decisions and actions. To understand fully what it means to be a steward is to comprehend who we are in relationship to God, to one another, and to the whole created order. We cannot choose whether or not to be stewards; we can choose only what kind of stewards to be, how it is we will respond to the vast and magnificent bounty which has been put in our care—whether selfishly, indifferently, or mindfully, with profoundly grateful hearts. If we live holistically as faithful stewards the effects of our stewardship will be everywhere apparent. Giving of our treasure—that signing of the pledge card that we have unfortunately come to think of as our primary obligation as stewards—will come to be, as it should, no more than the tip of that proverbial iceberg. Responding from a deep and enduring sense of gratitude to God’s incomparable beneficence will change lives, including our own. We will understand our worship as stewardship of faith. We will manage our time so as not to neglect prayer and other spiritual disciplines. Evangelism (that threatening e word) will emerge as stewardship of the gospel and of our Lord’s Great Commission. Acts of service and advocacy for social and economic justice will be understood as integral aspects of Christ’s reconciling ministry. As stewards of the environment, we will demonstrate an abiding reverence for the earth and all its resources. We will treasure and care for the gift of our physical bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. And, yes, we will share our material possessions and our money with joyful extravagance. In short, Beloved, we will live the life of discipleship, in thanksgiving for everything God has given us and in the name of the One who came as steward of souls, of salvation, and of God’s unending love.
“I will fufill my vows to the Lord ... I will offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving ….” —Psalm 116:14, 17 Faithfully yours in our Lord,
Upper South Carolina VII
Environmental Stewardship —continued from page 10 We should consider the Ten Commandants of Resource Management in this reflection. Drafted by Appalachia Science in the Public Interest located in Mt. Vernon, Kentucky, these commandants include the following: Do not call what the Creator proclaimed as good to be waste; Rest don’t shop; and Don’t covet as luxury what to the next generation will be a necessity. For more on this and other issues of the creation see their Web site, www.a-spi.org, and the other resources listed to the right. Fritz Hamer is chair of Integrity of Creation, an extension of the Outreach Task Force at Trinity Cathedral, Columbia.
What Would Jesus Drive? Hummer 13 mpg (city) Ford Explorer 14 mpg Lincoln Navigator 13 Nissan Xterra 16 Toyota Highlander 19 Toyota Prius 50
Environmental Resources National Church Environmental Stewardship page, www.episcopal church. org/1829_ENG_HTM.htm?menupage=1847. National Council of Churches of Christ Eco-Justice Programs, Episcopal Church USA policies and statements on the environment, www.nccecojustice.org/. Earth Ministry, an ecumenical group, founded by Episcopalians, that has as its mission “to inspire and mobilize the Christian Community to play a leadership role in building a just and sustainable future,” www.earthministry.org/. “Greening the church: Episcopal environmental movement continues to grow,” by Sharon Sheridan, Episcopal Life, June 1, 2005, on the Web at www.episcopalchurch.org/1829_62397_ENG_HTM. htm?menu=undefined. A Catechism of Creation: An Episcopal Understanding, available for download from www.episcopalchurch.org/science. A Guide to Environmental Stewardship for Individuals, Congregations and Dioceses, a joint project of the Episcopal Ecological Network (EpEN, http://eenonline.org/)and the Minnesota Episcopal Environmental Stewardship Commission (www.env-steward.com/). Available for $10 from EpEN; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for details. Eco-Justice Ministries, an independent, ecumenical agency helping churches develop ministries that are faithful, relevant, and effective in working toward social justice and environmental sustainability. Information, curricula, and resources, on the Web at www.eco-justice.org/. Episcopal Ecological Network, http://eeeonline.org/.
Crosswalk Stewardship & Scripture The theme of stewardship runs throughout both the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament the focus is on the developing relationship between the Israelites and the God who calls them to be his people. Old Testament scriptures record Israel’s thankful response to the God who has blessed, and called, them as a nation. The Old Testament scriptures set the standard for the tithe (giving ten percent of one’s wealth in thanksgiving to God), beginning with Abram (Gen. Photo © Benjamin Goode 14:20b), and continuing with Jacob (Gen. 28:22), and others. The scriptures also remind the community, via the traditions of the Sabbath (seventh) and Jubilee (50th ) years, that God is the owner of all and that his chosen people, his stewards, are called to manage the land and the economy justly, for the benefit of the whole household of God. In the New Testament, Jesus engages the issue of stewardship as a matter of relationship to God, to self, and to one’s neighbor, in numerous parables that feature the steward figure as the main character. Paul also uses the term steward in 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 and Ephesians 3:2. In the final analysis, however, the New Testament concept of stewardship is encapsulated in our Lord’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:19), which exhorts us to be stewards of the Good News: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Below is a list of Scripture citations, excerpted from the TENS (The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (http://tens.org/) Manual for Stewardship Development Programs in the Congregation—material for personal and corporate reflection as the annual “stewardship campaign” approaches. On a giving attitude: Matthew 7:12 John 1: 16-18, 13: 1-14 1 Corinthians:13: 1-3, 16: 13-14 2 Corinthians 4: 17-18 Hebrews 10:24-25, 13:16 James 1:16-27 1 Peter 17:25 1 John 2:15-17 2 John 1:2-6
On the tithe: Genesis 28:22 Leviticus 27: 30–32 Duteronomy 14: 22 Malachi 3:10 What is Christian giving? Matthew 5:23-24 Luke 6:38 1 Corinthians 13:3, 16.:2 On God, the creator of all: Genesis 1:1–2:24
Jesus’ parables about stewardship: Matthew 13:1-19, 44-45; 20: 1-16; 21:3 33-41; 25: 14-30; Luke
5:34-38; 7: 31-35; 10: 25 37; 11: 1-10, 12:13-21; 14: 25-35, 15:1-32; 16:1-8
For more on Scripture and stewardship, consult A Manual for Stewardship Development, available from TENS, http://tens.org/.
Time and the violence of our lives
—continued from page 5 Remembering what’s real I am a huge fan of The Book of Common Prayer, which may sound strange coming from an Episcopal priest; but what I mean by this is that The Book of Common Prayer is an incredible and practical faith resource. The present Prayer Book is also a heart-rending source of nononsense spirituality and very tender pastoral care. If we take the Prayer Book seriously, one of the things we notice is that it takes our life seriously. Fundamentally, the index of the BCP takes the gift of time and shapes years into seasons and seasons into occasions and occasions into days and even hours. How wonderfully gentle; how thoughtfully and practically understanding; how biblically faithful. We need help not being overwhelmed. We need help in remembering God. We need help in remembering what is really real, including who and what we are. Every significant threshold in human experience— from conception to death—from morning to night—is marked in the Prayer Book tradition
with liturgy and prayer, and what this says is that these thresholds are not only important human occasions; they are also those benchmark events when God is to be remembered, known, and embraced. So, what’s this got to do with overly busy people? A great deal. Everyone has time to remember God. Remembering doesn’t require 20 minutes; the same thing can be accomplished with a conscious “thank you” as our feet hit the floor from our beds. The same thing can be accomplished with a heartfelt “please help me!” when we feel ourselves slipping away into frantic time’s grip. The same thing can be accomplished by the simple recognition that we desire God’s presence. These are important beginnings toward God and away from violence. And when we do take simple, short times to remember God and our life with God, we may find ourselves not only wanting more time to be present with the Holy One; we may also find that we are more willing to be present, ourselves. That’s when the violence stops and the redeeming life blossoms. The Rev. Michael Bullock is rector of St. Martin’sIn-The-Fields, Columbia.
Pentecost II, 2005
B R E A K I N G
—continued from page 2
The Rev. Mark Clevenger named canon to the ordinary Bishop Henderson has announced the appointment of the Rev. Mark Clevenger as canon to the ordinary. Clevenger has been serving the diocese since January 2005 as canon for congregations & mission. In naming Clevenger, Bishop Henderson cited “several factors in the life of the Diocese [that] have converged in a way that suggests to me the need for fresh initiatives in the way I ask my staff and our various diocesan leadership bodies to function. These factors,” the bishop went on, “ include the financial realities of some of our congregations, the increasing need to streamline the implementation of our long-range plan for mission, our need to capitalize on the magnificent strides accomplished in our ministry to Haiti, the challenges facing Gravatt, our impending Diocesan Convention, as well as the inevitable build-up to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church,” which has occasioned Bishop Henderson’s recent appointment to the national Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion (see the related story on page 2). As canon to the ordinary, Clevenger has assumed responsibility for the administrative oversight of the diocesan staff, as well as serving as the primary contact person at the diocesan office for all diocesan clergy, congregations, commissions, and committees.
83rd Convention information available The 83rd Diocesan Convention is coming up on October 21 and 22 at Trinity Cathedral, Columbia. Candidates for elective office, proposed resolutions, and the proposed Statement of Mission (SOM) are posted on the Web, www.edusc.org/Convention/ 83rdConvention/83rdIndex.shtml. Copies have also been provided to all congregations. Convention begins on Friday, October 21, at 6 p.m. The forum to discuss proposed resolutions will take place on Saturday, October 22, at 9 a.m.
St. John’s, Congaree, youth dig deep for Katrina relief When St. John’s, Congaree, rector the Rev. Ed Tracey announced a special collection for victims of Hurricane Katrina he received an immediate response from the teenagers in the church’s J2A (Journey to Adulthood) community. The J2A program includes a year-end pilgrimage to a holy place, underwritten in large part by fundraisers conducted by the young people. About the time the hurricane hit, the Congaree kids, who are planning a pilgrimage to Ireland, had raised $400 washing cars—which they donated entirely to Katrina relief. Thanks be to God for these inspiring youthful stewards!
Churches demonstrate inspiring stewardship The Church of the Good Shepherd in Greer, a mission congregation, has blessed all Upper South Carolina with a gift of $1,095.00—offered in addition to their full, fair-share episcopal pledge. In a letter to Bishop Henderson, Good Shepherd vicar the Rev. Michael Schnatterly indicated that the gift was being made "in the hope that the witness of a small mission offering more than is requested and pledged to support of the diocesan mission and ministry may inspire other congregations to do likewise." Other congregations that have increased their 2005 giving beyond their original commitment are Holy Trinity, Clemson; St. David’s, Columbia; St. Paul’s, Fort Mill; and Our Saviour, Rock Hill.
Higgins, Sanders named Camp Gravatt’s outstanding staffers for 2005
Hillary Higgins (St. Paul’s, Batesburg) and Pierre Sanders (Voorhees chapel) have been named Camp Gravatt’s outstanding staffers for 2005. Each year two staff members are chosen by their peers to receive the Bishop and Archdeacon’s Outstanding Staffer Award. The winners must be practicing Christians and team players who set a good example for campers in word and deed. Both Ms. Higgins and Mr. Sanders were praised by their peers as great Christian role models whose generosity of spirit and positive attitude make them ready to go the extra mile. Congratulations to these two great young people.
Pentecost II, 2005
Crosswalk The official publication of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina
Photo © David Bailey
There is nothing to eat, seek it where you will, but the body of the Lord. The blessed plants and the sea, yield it to the imagination intact. 1950-1962. 1967.) From: "Host," by William Carlos Williams (Pictures from Breugel and Other Poems: Collected Poems 1950-1962., 1967. Nov.
Oct. 2 8 9 13-16
Bishop Duvall's visitation to St. Alban's, Lexington
BACAM (priesthood), Gravatt
Continuing Education Day
Happening #54, Gravatt
Bishop's visitation to St. John's, Clearwater
Bishop's visitation to Good Shepherd, York Cursillo #103, Gravatt
ECW Western District Meeting, St. Thaddeus, Aiken
Bishop's visitation to All Saints, Beech Island
24 25-28 30
10-12 13 14-16
Bishop's residency, Reedy River Convocation
Bishop's visitation to St. Peter's, Greenville
Bishop's visitation to Good Shepherd, Columbia Bishop Harris's vistation to Trinity Church, Abbeville
DEC meeting, St. Luke's, Newberry
Bishop's visitation to Epiphany, Laurens
Diocesan House closed.
Clergy Conference, Kanuga Bishop’s residency, Gravatt Convocation
Bishop's visitation to Advent, Spartanburg Bishop Harris's visitation to Grace, Anderson
Bishop Duvall's visitation to St. Martin's, Columbia Diocesan House closed.
DEC retreat, Gravatt Diocesan HIV/AIDS healing service, St. Luke’s, Columbia
83rd Diocesan Convention, Trinity Cathedral, Columbia Sr. High DYE (concurrent with convention)
Diocesan House closed.
Bishop Harris's visitation to All Saints, Clinton
ECW Advent Quiet Day “On-The-Net” through January 6
Bishop's visitation to St. Luke's, Columbia
Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina 1115 Marion Street Columbia, South Carolina 29201
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Published on Apr 9, 2010